Thermaltake W0021 Purepower 480W Butterfly

Thermaltake is a company I've long associated with just fans.  I remember the unique "Orb" CPU coolers as if it was just yesterday.  Recently, Thermaltake has taken the direction of designing and selling cases and, even more recently, power supplies.

The "Butterfly" series is Thermaltake's line of power supplies featuring an extra case fan, a 5 1/4 bay mountable fan controller that controls both the "bonus" fan and PSU fan, a removable "butterfly" logo that exposes a window so one can see the inside of their power supply and 7 color LED illumination.  The Butterfly comes in four flavors.  Silver or black.  Active PFC or no PFC.  We're taking a look at the black without power factor control.

Inside of the box, we have our power supply, a nice little squirrel cage case fan and a fan controller for a 5.25" bay.

The first thing we notice when taking the power supply out of the box, is the removable "X" or "butterfly" plate.  Beneath the plate is a window.  I guess not everyone appreciates a window, but if you're buying a power supply with LED's in it that change seven different colors... Come on!

The side panel can be taken off to expose a window.

This allows the multi-colored lights to be seen from the side of a window case.

The finish is a nice, conservative flat black.  When fired up, the power supply illuminates and erie glow that fades out of one color and into another.  (Apology Edit:  I don't have any shots of this glow for reasons that will be disclosed later on in the review.)

The Thermaltake with the lid off.

Inside, we see a power supply that is very much Sirtech.  Components that are not too small, not too large.  You can see in one of the photos how LED's mounted inside the PSU housing are used in favor of LED fans.

Here's a side shot of the Thermaltake with the lid off.

Let's see what's on the Thermaltake label......

Thermaltake W0021 480W +3.3V +5V +12V -12V -5V +5VSB
Max Output Current 28A 35A 17A 0.8A 0.3A 2A
Max Combined Peak Wattage 480W

17A on the 12V rail?  Check the books.. Is that the lowest we've seen?  That's pretty low.  I've got 400W Ultra's and ePower's with more than that.

Let's take a look at what connectors we get...

ATX connector 20-pin
2 x 2 12V connectors 1
2 x 3 PCIe 0
6-pin Xeon/AUX connector 1
5.25" Drive connectors 9
3.5" Drive connectors 3
SATA Drive power connectors 2
Fan only connectors (thermostatically controlled 12V only) 0

Wow!  That's a lot of power connectors!  I can't recall seeing a power supply with nine 5.25" drive connectors AND two SATA.  Pair that information up with the power output ratings and you've got... what?  A power supply for a Pentium III based file server??  There's no fan only connectors, but a connector for checking the power supply fan's RPM.  There's also a proprietary fan connector that mates up with the included 5.25 bay unit.  There's no PCI Express connectors but, quite frankly, I don't think 17A on the 12V could handle a motherboard with PCI Express to start with (being that the CPU would regulate off of the 12V on such a board and then you'd need juice for the video card.)

The cables all have different colored webbing on them for a multicolor look that rivals the power supply's multi-color lights.

What's my opinion about what the outcome will be?

I'm not too confident that this power supply will pass test one or three, since test one takes the 12V to 20A and test three up to 30A.  As usual, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Thermaltake W0021 Zero Load Test One (367W) Test Two (302W) Test Three Full Load
12V N/A 11.79 12.34 FAIL FAIL
5V N/A 5.12 5.00 FAIL FAIL
3.3V N/A 3.41 3.41 FAIL FAIL
Efficiency N/A 75% 75% FAIL FAIL
Power Factor N/A .70 .69 FAIL FAIL

Temperature under load = 28.6C. Temperature after power off =46C.

Analysis of Results:

The long and the short of it... The power supply blew up on the bench.  There was no real rhyme or reason to the demise.  The power supply even passed test one with the 20A.  My best guess is that the overload protection completely failed thus allowing me to continue to load up the rails until eventually there was a pop and a ping and the unit shut down.  Unfortunately, I so much did not expect this to happen, I didn't get a chance to do a zero load test or take pictures of the power supply with it's lights running.

I found out what blew up when this voltage regulator fell out of the power supply.

For appearances, I really liked the Butterfly.  With all of the lights, the window and the multicolored cables.. This was going to be a great power supply for my daughter's build (until it blew up, of course.)   As for features:  certainly I would have liked the power supply more if it had active PFC, but it's not like that's not an option... because it is!  :)

The performance concerns me.  Not because it blew up, but because it only brags 17A on the 12V rail.  That's just not enough if I'm paying for a 480W power supply.  Move that 3.3V and 5V down a little and give me some 12V!

I can't really give the power supply an "honest rating" since it ended up failing almost every test due to the explosion, but it wasn't doing well to start with simply because of the 17A 12V rail.  It's being graded on a curve, but not much of one.

It's average overall score is a 6.5.

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